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What Causes Hot Flushes Apart From The Menopause

Complementary Therapies For Hot Flushes

What Causes Hot Flashes In Menopause?

Women often turn to complementary therapies as a “natural” way to treat their hot flushes.

There’s some evidence that isoflavones or black cohosh may help reduce hot flushes.

But the research is patchy, the quality of the products can vary considerably, they can interfere with some medicines, and they can have side effects .

It’s important to talk to your doctor before you take a complementary therapy.

Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021

Hormone Therapy For Hot Flashes

Traditionally, hot flashes have been treated with either oral or transdermal forms of estrogen. Hormone therapy or postmenopausal hormone therapy , formerly referred to as hormone replacement therapy , consists of estrogens alone or a combination of estrogens and progesterone . All available prescription estrogen medications, whether oral or transdermal, are effective in reducing the frequency of hot flashes and their severity. Research indicates that these medications decrease the frequency of hot flashes.

However, long-term studies of women receiving combined hormone therapy with both estrogen and progesterone were halted when it was discovered that these women had an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer when compared with women who did not receive hormone therapy. Later studies of women taking estrogen therapy alone showed that estrogen was associated with an increased risk for stroke, but not for heart attack or breast cancer. Estrogen therapy alone, however, is associated with an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women who have not had their uterus surgically removed.

More recently, it has been noted that the negative effects associated with hormone therapy were described in older women who were years beyond menopause, and some researchers have suggested that these negative outcomes might be lessened or prevented if hormone therapy was given to younger women instead of women years beyond menopause.

Hot Flashes And Night Sweats May Be Controlled With Estrogen Replacement Therapy

Hot flashes and night sweats during natural or treatment-related menopause can be controlled with estrogen replacement therapy. However, many women are not able totake estrogen replacement and may need to take a drug that does not have estrogen in it. Hormone replacement therapy that combines estrogen with progestin may increase the risk of breast cancer or breast cancer recurrence.

Treatment of hot flashes in men who have been treated for prostate cancer may include estrogens, progestin, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.

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Stress And Emotional Causes

In reaction to emotional stimuli, your body may release the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, which pump up blood flow and produce a warming sensation throughout the body. Similar to blushing, flushing can result from a wide variety of factorsfrom stress to spinal cord lesions and migraine headachescausing entire sections of your body to turn red and feel extremely warm. Sometimes, flushing is simply an allergic skin reaction to outside stimuli like food or environmental elements.

Why Do Hot Flashes Get Worse At Night How To Stop Them

About Hot Flashes during Menopause

There comes a period in every womans life where their biological clock reaches the time where menopause begins. When it comes to the sexual fertility of a woman, menstruation is the milestone that marks the physiological readiness to bear children. And at the opposite end of the time spectrum, menopause is the phase of life that signals the end of fertility for women. Menopause is the point in a womans life where she stops having her period and naturally occurs between the ages of 45-50 years old. However, there is no rhyme or reason as to which symptoms are experienced or the duration of the menopausal phases from woman to woman. One of the most notable symptoms of menopause and the time period leading up to menopause is hot flashes. Below, we will explain in more detail the phases of menopause, the symptoms and how to deal with them, specifically hot flashes.;

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Carcinoid Syndrome And Hormone

Though its more rare, hot flashes can also be caused by carcinoid syndrome, a condition in people with advanced carcinoid tumors that produce excess hormones that have effects throughout the body.

A common symptom of carcinoid syndrome is facial flushing. When this happens, the skin on your face, your neck, or your upper chest will suddenly feel hot and get red.

Facial flushing in people with carcinoid syndrome happens after the release of certain chemicals in the body that causes the widening of blood vessels and a surge in blood flow under the skin.

Other tumors, such as pancreatic tumors, medullary thyroid cancer, bronchogenic carcinoma , and renal cell carcinoma, can also lead to hot flashes.

Menopause Hot Flushes And The Environment

One of the causes of;hot flushes;during the menopause is known to be changes in the external environment. For example, moving between indoors and outdoors with big differences in temperature.

This is the reason women find that symptoms can be more common in the summer, or when entering a well-heated room during cold weather. Other triggers or causes of menopause hot flushes include stress, anxiety, heightened emotions and even;eating;spicy foods.

Hot flushes pose no real medical danger. However, when occurring at night and accompanied by;, they can disturb your sleep and that of your partner. This in turn, can cause you to feel moody, affect concentration and energy levels.

Hot flushes can also be experienced by men who are obviously not going through the same menopause stages as women. If you are suffering from hot flushes and do not feel that the menopause is the cause of these symptoms, you should speak to your doctor for advice.

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Cancer And Cancer Treatment

Hot flushes are sometimes a lesser-known symptom of breast cancer, leukaemia, lymphoma or carcinoid syndrome . But hot flushes can also be caused by cancer treatment too, including chemotherapy and tamoxifen .

Seven out of ten women who’ve undergone treatment for breast cancer experience hot flushes.

The Typical Hot Flush Experience

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Mostly affecting the face and neck, hot flushes can also affect the whole body. Women report having to remove clothing and stand in front of the air conditioner or fan. The typical description: âSuddenly my face goes red, beads of sweat appear on my forehead and run down my face and neck accompanied with feeling hot and sticky.â

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What Causes Hot Flashes

The exact reason why hot flashes happen during menopause isnt clear, , MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School tells Health. But its thought that the decrease in your bodys production of reproductive hormones, including estrogen, during menopause can make you more sensitive to slight changes in body temperature, says Dr. Sholes-Douglas.

The estrogen hormones fluctuate and, although the total estrogen levels may not be low, there are moments where estrogen levels fall relative to where they were, she explains. This then triggers a change in your blood vessels, which can make you feel hot and sweaty.

While you can just have a hot flash for seemingly no reason, hot flashes can be exacerbated by things like sugar, stress, spicy foods, and alcohol, says Dr. Sholes-Douglas.

When you have a hot flash during the night, its often referred to as night sweats. But these are essentially the same, says Dr. Sholes-Douglas. Night sweats tend to wake women up and can make it tough to sleep.

Q: How Long Will I Get Hot Flashes

A:;On average, you may be looking at 10-15 years of living with hot flashes. Though they are sporadic, their unpredictability is very frustrating. Lets look at what you can expect:

  • 40s:;This is when most women start perimenopause. Some hot flashes and night sweats begin.
  • 46-53:;In the U.S., this is the average age for menopause, which is defined as 12 straight months with no period. Hot flashes tend to be most frequent in the two years after menopause.
  • Late 50s:;Most women continue to have hot flashes anywhere from 4-10 years after menopause. But most of these will decrease in frequency and severity.

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We Can Help You Manage Your Cold Flashes

  • Meet with a Menopause-certified Doctor to understand cold flash symptoms, and their impact on your overall health and wellness
  • Partner with a Health Coach for actionable solutions to manage your cold flashes and the support you need to get you feeling better
  • Black Cohosh – this dietary supplement may help relieve hot flashes, cold flashes, night sweats
  • Vitality the nutrient-packed multi-vitamin supplement that that supports, mood, energy, stress response, immune health, joint pain, and inflammation

The information on the Gennev site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional.;Hormonal shifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, and simply assuming something is just menopause can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointment with one of Gennev’s telemedicine doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.

Hot Flashes Years After Menopause

Menopause Related Hot Flashes

New long-term research shows that hot flashes continue, on average, for five years after menopause. More than a third of women can experience hot flashes for up to ten or more years after menopause.

A recent study evaluated 255 women in the Penn Ovarian Aging Study who reached natural menopause over a 16-year period. The results indicate that 80 percent reported moderate to severe hot flashes, 17 percent had only mild hot flashes, and three percent reported no hot flashes.

Hot flashes are momentary episodes of heat that can occur with other symptoms including sweating and flushing. Changing hormone levels after cessation of menses are believed to cause hot flashes as well as other menopausal symptoms including insomnia, anxiety, joint and muscle pain, and memory problems. ;Hormone therapy repletes the hormones estrogen and progesterone the body stops making during menopause, and it has been proven an effective treatment for hot flashes.

Source: Ellen W. Freeman, Mary D. Sammel, Richard J. Sanders.;Risk of long-term hot flashes after natural menopause.;Menopause, 2014; 1 DOI:10.1097/GME.0000000000000196

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Why Do They Occur

The root cause of hot flushes is not clear. What is known is that the part of the brain that senses and controls body temperature is the hypothalamus.

During the menopause, oestrogen levels fall. Although not fully understood, scientists think that this fall in oestrogen causes a glitch in the way the hypothalamus senses body temperature, making it think that you are too hot.

This causes a response designed to cool the body down. More blood goes to the skin and sweat glands start;working .

Why Does Menopause Cause Night Sweats

Night sweats are caused for the most part because your body stops making oestrogen. Oestrogen helps you regulate your body temperature by getting rid of heat. Like hot flushes, low oestrogen levels affect how the brain regulates temperature, with the result that small changes in body temperature are more likely to cause sweating or shivering.

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Black Cohosh For Hot Flashes

Black cohosh is an herbal preparation that is becoming more and more popular in the U.S., and the North American Menopause Society does support the short-term use of black cohosh for treating menopausal symptoms, for a period of up to six months .

Some studies have shown that black cohosh can reduce hot flashes, but most of the studies have not been considered to be rigorous enough in their design to firmly prove any benefit. There also have not been scientific studies done to establish the long-term benefits and safety of this product. Research is ongoing to further determine the effectiveness and safety of black cohosh.

Treatments That Help Patients Cope With Stress And Anxiety May Help Manage Hot Flashes

5 Ways to Eradicate Hot Flushes in Menopause

Treatments that change how you deal with stress, anxiety, and negative feelings may help you manage hot flashes. These strategies include cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation and breathing exercises. They help you gain a sense of control and develop coping skills to manage your symptoms.

Hypnosis has also been used as a treatment for hot flashes. It is a trance-like state that allows you to be more aware, focused, relaxed, and open to suggestion. Under hypnosis, you can concentrate more clearly on a specific thought or feeling without becoming distracted. A therapist helps you to deeply relax and focus on cooling thoughts. This may lower stress levels, balance body temperature, and calm the heart rate and breathing rate.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation and breathing exercises, or hypnosis may help hot flashes and related problems when used together with drug therapy.

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In Women And Men Hot Flashes And Night Sweats May Be Caused By Surgery Radiation Therapy And Taking Certain Medications


Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop making estrogen. Hot flashes and night sweats are common symptoms of menopause. Early menopause is a condition in which the ovaries stop making estrogen at a younger age than usual. Early menopause can occur when both ovaries are removed by surgery, such as a bilateral oophorectomy to lessen the chance cancer will occur or as part of a hysterectomy to treat cancer.

Other treatments that can cause hot flashes and night sweats include the following:

In breast cancer patients, severe hot flashes have been linked with the following:

  • Problems sleeping.

In premenopausal breast cancer survivors, hot flashes and night sweats have also been linked with depression.


In men, the testes produce testosterone. Surgery to remove one or both testicles for the treatment of prostate cancer can trigger a set of symptoms that include hot flashes and night sweats. Hormone therapy with gonadotropin-releasing hormone or estrogen also causes these symptoms in men.

Other drug therapy, such as opioids, tricyclic antidepressants, and steroids, may also cause hot flashes and night sweats.

What Are Hot Flushes

Hot flushes are often described as a ‘creeping’ feeling of intense warmth or heat which suffuses the face and upper body. They may also be accompanied by sweating and reddening of the skin.

Along with menopausal weight gain, restless nights and mood swings, they’re often a side effect of the menopause.

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When To See A Doctor

There are many different reasons for experiencing hot flashes. While most of them are not serious, you do need to know for sure what is causing them.

If youre having trouble narrowing down the cause of your hot flashes, try keeping track of the episodes. List the details about the outdoor and room temperature at the time that you have one, your diet and activity levels, and any medications that you used. After a few weeks of collecting data, your doctor might be able to help you find a pattern.

Which Type Of Doctor Treats Hot Flashes

Menopause Signs Best Home Remedies

Many women will consult their gynecologist for the management of hot flashes associated with approaching menopause. Hot flashes are also treated by primary care providers, including internists and family practitioners. Hot flashes related to uncommon conditions, serious infections, or cancers are treated by the specialists treating the underlying condition.

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Hand Over Control Of The Heating

Okay, so you may end up needing to pull on an extra layer or the opposite and find yourself walking around the house in your undies clutching a battery-powered fan.

But allowing her to set the temperature to what shes most comfortable at can work wonders for hot flushes, cold flashes and harmony within the household. Its not forever

What Is Happening To Your Body When You Have A Hot Flush

When you have a hot flush, you experience a sudden feeling of warmth radiating throughout your body, most commonly affecting your face, neck, and chest . This sensation is often accompanied by redness , excessive sweating, nausea, dizziness, a racing heart, shaking, headaches, and, in some cases, feelings of anxiety .Once the hot flush dissipates, its not uncommon to feel cold and clammy or to start shivering. These sensations arise due to the sweat evaporating from your body.You may also experience hot flushes while you sleep, otherwise known as night sweats. These episodes can rouse you from sleep and make it challenging to get a quality nights rest, leaving you fatigued the next day .

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The Timing Of Menopause

Menopause is defined as a woman’s final period and is the result of changes to a woman’s reproductive hormones, due to her ovaries no longer releasing eggs.

This usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55 , but it can happen earlier.

If a woman’s periods stop before she is 40, it’s known as premature menopause.

Those women whose periods stop between 40 and 45 years experience early menopause.

Dr Farrell says women can experience hot flushes and a host of other menopausal symptoms regardless of when they experience menopause.

While 20 per cent of women have no sign of menopause, other than their period stopping, most women have symptoms in the years leading up to their last period and afterwards.

The transition from irregular periods to the final period is known as the perimenopause.

During the perimenopause your ovaries begin to produce less oestrogen and your periods often become irregular.

These fluctuating hormone levels can cause a range of symptoms.

Some are related to higher hormone levels or lower oestrogen , says Dr Farrell.


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